Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025278, Mon, 14 Apr 2014 23:59:25 -0300

Season's greetings: an Easter egg or a cornucopia of plums?

Nabokov left an Easter Egg for re-readers. Did you find it?

<http://www.goodreads.com/topic/list_book/7604.Lolita> Lolita discussion

Or "Plums" (preferably)

Pale Fire and the Cold War: Redefining Vladimir Nabokov's Masterpiece

Michael Weiss. 10.13.13

"As Edward Snowden sat weighing his fortunes in the transit zone of
Sheremetyevo Airport last July, a man called Anton Bakov created a minor
news item in Russia for offering to bestow a singular form of asylum on the
fugitive NSA contractor. As URA.ru, a Russian news agency, put it, Bakov is
a "Urals genius of political creativity... who has proclaimed himself prime
minister of the Russian Empire of the North Pole and Antarctica," a country
that "does not have diplomatic relations with any state or, according to
Bakov, need them." It is "open to Russians but for various reasons not
included within contemporary Russia." One reason might be that the country
does not actually exist on any map. It's the product of the prime minister's
own mind and only represented on an intriguing website where the curious
will discover that the Russian Empire, geographically situated in the
noncontiguous regions of the north and south poles, is a constitutional
monarchy meant to be the "successor" to the great dominion once ruled by
Peter the Great. There's even a Star Wars-themed promotional video.

Sadly, the one Russian who would have delighted most in this fantasy,
particularly the way in which manic invention bleeds into international
politics, is a St. Petersburg genius of literary creativity who's been dead
for 36 years.

In Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov invited his reader to question the
reliability and sanity of his narrator, Charles Kinbote, the self-described
exiled king of a land called Zembla who has claimed the role of annotator of
a dead poet's final masterpiece, which Kinbote has stolen.

All of Nabokov's novels feature what he called "plums" but might also be
thought of as Easter eggs: hidden allusions or jokes or legends for working
out what it was that the great Russian had in mind with the use of a date, a
name, or a metaphor. Nothing in Nabokov is ever wasted, yet much can be
missed, especially upon the first reading, which is why he thought that
books could only be "re-read."


Nabokov's Plums BOOKS AND AUTHORS by Maurice Dolbier *
The New York Herald Tribune Books section, page two, 17 June 1962

Vladimir Nabokov's "Pale Fire" (Putnam's) consists of a 999-line poem by a
man named John Shade and a commentary on the poem by a man who calls himself
Dr. Charles Kinbote. Some of its reviewers have expressed doubts as to
whether the book could properly be called a novel at all, but, in an
interview the other day, Mr. Nabokov said: /"I think it is a perfectly
straightforward novel. The clearest revelation of personality is to be found
in the creative work in which a given individual indulges. Here the poet is
revealed by his poetry; the commentator by his commentary." /It is the book
that he most enjoyed writing./ "It is jollier than the others," he said,
"and it is full of plums that I keep hoping somebody will find


*- Also found in full at the VN-L Archives: As promised, here is the full
text of the uncollected interview printed in the New York Herald Tribune
Books section, page two, 17 June 1962. All ellipses are in the original. -
BOOKS AND AUTHORS By Maurice Dolbier Matt Roth


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